Do you watch This is Us? This quote from a father to his son last season really hit home and I’ve been thinking about it a lot during daily interactions with my two kids.
“I know that I’m bigger than you, I know that I’m an adult.
But this is my first time [parenting], and I’m trying.” – Jack Pearson
I strive to be an authentic parent and tell my children the truth but, this admission of ignorance is both liberating and nerve-wracking. If we don’t know what’s going on, who does? Even with two kids, I feel far from seasoned.
This is my first time too.
At times I feel like I’m “in the zone!” Questions are answered with confidence and clarity. Lunches are packed and daycare cot sheets are cleaned. The boxes are getting checked, people are dressed and on time and fed and everything!
Most of the time I feel a bit shakier. Kids are allowed to sleep in and laundry is clean and folded but for some reason, the hardest part is actually getting it into the dresser drawers. I might forget to pack her ballet shoes or forget to buy a birthday present until 10 minutes before drop-off.
I want to teach my children that there is no reason to apologize for the occasional messy house and that it’s just fine to veer off the schedule because that’s honestly part of life. We as parents are simply doing our best to do our best each and every day and we mess it up on the regular.
We absolutely must do our best to give ourselves a bit of grace too because this is our first time too. No matter what stage of parenting we are at, there are never-ending new Firsts staring us in the face.
My imperfect nature makes me the perfect parent for my children. That’s what I hope my children learn from me. That my “mistakes” aren’t the end of the world. Ballet shoes will either make it school somehow in the nick of time or we’ll figure something else out. Lost tempers are closely followed by sincere apologies. Wrinkled laundry eventually just becomes a fashion trend among elementary schoolers.
One of my favorite questions my daughter learned from her kindergarten teacher this year is to ask yourself “Is this a big deal or is this a little deal?” This “pause and question” lesson helped our daughter talk herself through potentially stressful situations like lost crayons and missing shoes, but this same concept is great for adults.
I love using this “pause and ask” exercise too. Missing shoes aren’t a big deal. Two movies on a rainy Saturday aren’t a big deal. The “biggest deal” is my family’s health and happiness. Beyond that, we admit it we only know so much, it’s our first time and we all get to make it up as we go. What a blessing.